23 April 2012

Just the Girls

This weekend, while the boys were all away for a father-son retreat, Addie and I had our own in-house retreat. We hunted for treasures in antique malls (and scored--Pyrex mixing bowls for me and a porcelain doll for her), and she went with me to my doctor's appointment to hear the baby's heartbeat, a first for her.

We lunched in tea rooms and 100-year old diners, went to the movies, ate ice cream in bed, and spent hours in an amazing quilt shop.

She finished the weekend with an hour in my claw foot tub--definitely a good choice.

It was quiet and calm and very girly all weekend, but we were happy to see our boys come home, all the same.

16 April 2012

Regular Life

Oh, these days are flying!  How is it already mid-April?  I feel like it should still be somewhere around Valentine's Day.  I'm hardly used to writing "2012"--slow down, year!

This last week was a blur of recovering from Easter, figuring out the sheep, getting back into school, and enjoying as much time as possible outside.  Spring here is beyond beautiful, and from morning til bedtime the kids are outside, except for school hours.  We've weeded garden beds, drawn on the driveway with sidewalk chalk, and done a lot of scootering up and down our long driveway.

I've spent several evenings with the sheep, plopped on a bale of straw in the stall, cooing to them and feeding them alfalfa from my hand.  The lambs are still skittish, but Clover is not at all afraid of me and will come up for an ear scratch.  It's very peaceful in the dark barn at night, hanging out with sheep and listening to the chickens sleep.

Last night was a little less peaceful--Ivy went for a swim in the horse tank before bedtime and had to be rescued.  I was more shaken than she was, and I sat in the barn for a long time, cuddling her in a blanket.

Last week I hit the second trimester, which seems impossible.  In a matter of weeks we'll find out what we're having, and this little person will have a name.  If it's a girl, the name is already chosen, but we're fine-tuning boy options.  Everybody is hoping for a girl, so Addie will have a sister, so we're holding off on boy choices until we know.  Oddly, I can imagine another daughter but can't imagine a boy who's not either Caiden or Grayson.  Maybe because I've had the two of them for so long that another boy seems unimaginable?  Addie says if it's a boy, she's naming him "Junior," after the asparagus on Veggie Tales.  I'm pretty sure that name is not in the running, though.

Other than school, sheep, and regular life, the only thing I've really had time for is sewing curtains for our little guest house.  It will become our school house sometime later this spring, to make room for the baby, so I've been steadily working on redoing it.  The treadmill has been moved, the loveseat found a home in our family room, and my husband graciously gave his TV to a friend of his from church.  I was very happy to see that behemoth leave!  All the furniture is now in the right places, and I ordered 50 yards of fabric for the curtains, pillows, and guest bedroom bed linens.   I'm 20 yards down, now, with just bedroom curtains, a duvet cover, bedskirt, and some bed pillows to go.  None of those is crucial, though, so we may be moved in before they're finished.  I'm still tired a lot, despite sleeping a ton at night, so productivity comes in small spurts that don't last long!

Tonight we're heading down the road to a neighbor we've only met on the phone.  We've long admired his sheep but had never met him, and we found out this week that he's also a veterinarian!  He invited us over tonight to have a little banding/docking party for all of our lambs.  He's had a bunch born this week, and he said he'd be happy to educate us.  Talk about a great neighbor!!  He'll also come over to shear our ewe, and after You Tubing it, I'm pretty excited to have an expert do it!  So I need to go make dinner before we load up our lambs and head over.

Sometimes I'm not sure whose life I'm living, but I really love it.

11 April 2012

Love at First Sight

Last week we brought home new friends!  Four sweet little friends who will happily munch down our back pasture and paddock, along with the barnyard area, and look plenty charming while they're at it.

A little shy at first, the mama, Clover, warmed up quickly when she saw that we provide treats.  The three little lambs, Casper and Ivy and Dandelion, were still shy around us so the first night of trying to put them up was rough.

The next night, though, they followed Clover right into their stall, and we all exhaled mightily.

Every morning I feed Ivy her bottle and then let them all out to munch.  And munch, and munch, and munch.  They wander all over the paddock and pasture, not at all minding Scout or the chickens or the kids, and when they need a rest, they file into the barn and plop down in the shade.

They're exceedingly charming, all right.

We've come up with plenty of excuses to abandon work right in the middle and sneak out to the paddock to check on them.

Not much has gotten done around here in the last week, unless you count sitting on the garden bench and admiring sheep as productive.

It may not be productive, but it's very nice.

06 April 2012

My Mowing Ministry

Holidays are a different thing in a ministry family. If you're in full-time ministry, you know what I mean. There's all the same activities that everybody else does, of course, like planning the menu and hosting family and getting to service on time, but in addition we have the responsibility of crafting those worship experiences that we're all trying to be on time for. There are a lot of people involved who are responsible for running the sound and planning the music and writing the message, in addition to all their holiday/family activities.

For our family, that means my husband is at the church until very late every night the week before Easter, and I take on some Mrs. Dad activities. (Remember the movie, Mr. Mom?)

 This week, I've mowed the lawn and back pasture, weed-eated, driven to the feed store four times (more on that later), chased livestock for an hour last night to round them up (more on that, too), made a decision about a couple of large purchases, killed black widows, fixed a fence, went to Lowe's at least twice, calmed the kids during terrible storms, and stayed up way later than normal, to see my husband for a few minutes each night.  None of those are in my norm, and a few are WAY outside my comfort zone.

 Sometimes people ask me what I do as a pastor's wife, and it's a hard question to answer, because some weeks that means we host people in our home or I help out at church in different ways, and other weeks it means I mow, despite the unspoken marriage vow that I'd never do yard work and he'd never have to clean the house. Supporting my husband in ministry sometimes means I serve dessert for dinner to lift up the spirits of kids who miss their daddy when he needs to go in on his day off.

 It would be easy to throw myself a pity party when I have to pull more than my share or I go to bed alone the third night in a row. But when I look at Who we're really serving, and the people whose lives are changed because of it, mowing the pasture is a very small act of service. And it doesn't even really count unless I do it with the right attitude. Sometimes the attitude is a lot more challenging to get right than the mowing.

 This Easter we're hoping to see lots of new faces in the crowd. Faces of people who wouldn't have come if he hadn't worked extra and I hadn't served and supported, too. Remembering that makes getting my attitude right simple. Remembering that no act is too small for Jesus, and that my role as a pastor's wife is an honor, makes mowing and fence-fixing very small gifts I can give to both Him and my husband. And myself, really.

 Besides, deep down, I actually like mowing. Just don't let that get out.

 Happy Easter, He is risen!